BTCC Brands Hatch Indy - May 14-15
After a difficult time at Donington Park, with technical issues, Laser Tools Racing had taken the cars back to the workshop in Scotland where solid improvements have been made.
On Saturday morning at Brands Hatch in Kent we were able to see how we had done and with the weather warm and sunny they were ideal conditions to measure our progress. Out of the blocks both Aiden and Dexter were more comfortable in the cars. This is a circuit that Aiden really enjoys and is a good opportunity for Dexter to learn more about the car in what we have to remember is only his second touring car weekend.
On the morning's practice sessions, the cars were superb, as were the drivers with Aiden starting the session in 2nd and then as things settled down, he was consistently 4th throughout. Dexter meanwhile was learning the car and the track and was soon climbing up the order.
Early on in the session Aiden was consistently running in 12th and was fairly happy with the car set up after he went back to the settings from Free Practice 1 which worked quite well. However, in the last ten minutes, as Aiden was really building up to his best times, he was baulked twice at Clearways by the Honda of Jason Plato which cost him his best times on the new tyres.
For the third session in a row, Dexter was able to not only continue learning the car and the track, he was also able to stay in 15th place. So, three sessions and three 15th places today for Dexter and he was pleased with the effort. Thus for Race 1 on the Sunday we had Dexter in 15th and Aiden in 20th. Dexter remarked: "I have had a really good day and have enjoyed every moment of it. Qualifying in 15th is a good step forward for me and I can’t wait for tomorrow." Aiden was exasperated however: "In the end it was frustrating and I am sure there is more to come, but well done to Dexter and lets really go for it tomorrow."
After the glorious sunshine of Saturday, Sunday dawned grey and with a threat of rain later in the morning. The rain duly arrived at 11.00 and the Porsche race that was underway at the time had to be red flagged so that they could switch to wet tyres. The rain then eased and the touring car teams were left with a horrible dilemma of wet or dry tyres and there was a real mix up and down the grid.
LTR went with the wet option for safety as it was very wet in places. Aiden got an amazing start to be up into 14th from 20th on the first lap whilst Dexter was able to keep position well in the treacherous conditions. On lap 6 Aiden lost a place and Dexter gained a place to leave them running alongside each other’s for a few laps. On lap 13 as the wet tyres started to lose traction, Dexter lost a couple of places to be three places behind Aiden.
As the race wore on, the wets started to lose against the slick-tyred cars and we were under pressure from some of those around us. On the last two laps we had lost nearly all of our grip and we came home with Aiden in 22nd and Dexter in 25th. It was a big learning curve for us as we hadn’t really run the new car in the wet and it was good to see Dexter really coming through this one well and showing us real talent in the conditions.
The rain was still falling and everyone was on wet tyres as they assembled on the grid for the second race. Laser Tools Racing had high hopes of gaining places in the race with both Dexter and Aiden excellent in the wet. However, little did we know….
Both our cars excellent starts until all hell broke loose:
Further up the grid Michael Crees was caged-in causing him to swerve across the track into his team mate Ash Hand. They collected one of the BMWs and the concertina-effect started. Aiden was unsighted and ran into the back of the car ahead, causing his bonnet to come up in front of his windscreen.
Dexter was less lucky as he was collected by a spinning car damaging the front of the car and forcing him to retire from the race. Aiden was able to get his car back to the pits where he was able to get his bonnet re-attached and was then able to rejoin the race a few laps down, and immediately recorded a fastest lap time.
With Dexter starting in 26th and Aiden in 24th, we must give massive respect to the team who were able to repair both cars and get them out for this race. After the damage in Race 2 this was a really fantastic effort and they are certainly stars for the effort.
On the grid, the rain got worse and it was very wet indeed. Aiden and Dexter both made it to the first corner unmolested and were soon starting to push with Aiden gaining two places on lap 2. Things were quite processional at the front, but Aiden was really on it in the wet conditions, showing just how much talent he has. The battle was with Ash Hand, Ricky Collard, Jack Butel and Jade Edwards, but Aiden was up to the task and finished in 15th place, a gain of 9 places on his starting place.
Dexter was also on the move in the most challenging conditions he has faced in the car and he did a fantastic job keeping it on the track with everything going on around him to finish three places higher in 23rd. The conditions were really terrible and both the boys did a fantastic job.
From here we head to Thruxton in two week's time for the fastest circuit of the season and we will bring you all of the action as it happens.